30thJanuary

Two days in a row!

Two posts in a row!  I’m on a roll!  I walked on my treadmill yesterday and I’m eating healthy today.  A few more days like this and I’ll be back on track. 

Breakfast _ Lite yogurt (60 calories)
Lunch - Marie Callender’s Turkey dinner (340 calories)

29thJanuary

33 Steps

That’s what I face every morning.  I pull into the school parking lot and make my decision.  Do I park in the area on the far side of the school where they have direct entry into the second floor or do I park at the end of the building close to my classroom?  I have to sign in at the front office (which is on the second floor) so it makes sense to park on the far side of the building, go directly inside, sign in and go to my classroom (which is also on the second floor).  The problem is that my classroom is the very last room in the building and it’s 364 steps from my car to my classroom.  At the end of the day when I’m tired and my ankles are killing me, I have to lug my computer, purse, briefcase and whatever else I’m dragging home with me all the way down the entire length of the building.  Three hundred and sixty four steps.  I’ve counted them.

On the other hand, I can park at the far end of the building, which is really close to my classroom, and haul all my junk up three flights of steps.  Eleven steps at each juncture.  I arrive in my classroom gasping for breath, drop my purse, computer, lunch, briefcase and coffee cup on the nearest table and attempt to regain control before I walk all the way down the hall (220 steps) and sign in at the office.  Then it’s another 220 steps back to my room.  I always take a peek around the corner when I get to the top of the stairs.  Desperately hoping that Ms. T. (cute as a button, 100 pounds dripping wet, first year teacher) isn’t in her room.  She usually gets to school early and, if she beats me, her door will be open and she’ll call out a cheery little greeting.  Forcing me to answer when I can’t even breath.  I suck it in, unlock my door as quick as I can and collapse with a big whoosh from holding my breath.

Why do I struggle with this decision?  I usually park close to my room because, even though 33 stairs are torture and they’re followed by 220 steps down to the office to sign in and another 220  back to my room, I know, at the end of the day that it’s an easy 33 steps down and another 40 to my car.  And I know, at the end of the day, that’s going to be about all I can handle.

So what does that say?  That one of my major decisions every day has to be whether to park on the side of the building by my room and deal with steps or the side of the building by the office and deal with distance?  And really…should any of this make me think about retirement every day as I make my decision?  I wrestle with the parking decision and, in the back of my mind, I’m reminding myself…”Another four months and I’ll never have to face those damn steps again.”

So I’m trying.  I actually went upstairs this morning and walked on my treadmill.  Only went a mile but it’s a start.  The poor thing was covered in dust and supporting a box of Christmas wrapping accoutrements, ten or twelve books I’ve already read and plan on giving to Mom, a pair of tennis shoes, and two suitcases.  My poor treadmill has become a holding area for household items headed for the attic or pending delivery to Mom or Goodwill.  I can’t even remember the last time I walked on the treadmill.  At least six or eight months.  Probably longer.   I’d planned on starting with fifteen minutes but figured I’d be gasping for breath after five.  Surprisingly, I went for twenty minutes.  I could have gone longer but didn’t want to be nursing aches and pains tomorrow.

So I’m working at it.  I usually need a few days of exercise before I begin to see the value in counting calories.  It’s a lot easier to do when I’m reminded about how much work it takes to burn off a couple hundred calories.

I’ve been gone a long time.  Got so down that I just kind of gave up on everything.  I withdrew from my friends and family.  Let one day roll into another and spent my time playing mindless games on the computer, watching mindless shows on TV and eating everything in sight.  What little thought I’ve invested into anything has been in my job.  Writing lesson plans, grading papers, trying to keep my head above water.

I finally made a decision about retirement.  I went back and forth.  I’m going to retire, I’m not going to retire…couldn’t really make up my mind.  Things crystalized for me over Christmas break.  We went to Florida and I spent some time walking in the woods and relaxing in the cabin.  Read a few books and spent every night out in the clawfoot tub looking at the stars.  Then, with a heavy heart and a whole bunch of resentment, I took out my laptop and began writing lesson plans, creating worksheets and grading papers.  Two whole days of my break but I finally got caught up and had the first couple of weeks of the new year planned out.

Then I came back to work for two days and they pulled all my freshmen for a couple of days.  Then they pulled my seniors.  Then they took my ROTC students for the ASVAB testing.  I was trying to work with half my students gone and wondering how they were going to get caught up with the rest of the class after missing out on lessons.  The program we’re required to use for grading went down for more than a week, the internet was up and down and running slow as all get out and my students were frustrated and off task.  I was involved in breaking up two fights that resulted in two teachers being assaulted and students going to jail.  I worked like a dog to get the National Honor Society Induction ceremony taken care of and I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?  How much longer?  Does any of it make any sense?”  And I made my decision.  My heart is just not in it anymore.  I’m done.

There’s a tremendous sense of freedom that comes from having made the decision.  I see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t get as frustrated and angry with the bureaucracy because I know I don’t have to deal with it much longer. 

Twenty one years ago, I was hired a couple of weeks into the school year.  That means I have to go back the first couple of weeks next year.  Still, everytime something really gets on my nerves, I find peace in knowing it’s the last time I’ll have to deal with it. 

Now I have to take a good look at where I am, crawl out of this hole and get back to being me.  For starters, I’m blogging again.  I’m opening my eyes and looking around and wondering what’s going on with all my bloggie buddies.  Think I’ll find out.  Then, I’m going to clean the house and plan a decent dinner.  There’s been a whole lot of pizza and fast food the last few months.